Numerous thinkers of all nations and generations discuss the notion of home since it is a core idea that can be approached from different angles. An article “The idea of home: A kind of space” by Mary Douglas attempts to view the concept of home using an evidence-based approach. She defines home as a localized idea that has some regularities in appearance and coordination. The present paper offers a response to the article by relating the idea of home to personal experience and critically evaluating the text. We claim that even though the idea of home is difficult to discuss, the essay by Douglas provides significant insights into the matter.
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Douglas (2012) starts with the idea that home can be both damaging and healing depending on an individual and a point in time. Indeed, when I was a child, the home was a place of safety, comfort, and peace.
It was a place where I always wanted to return to reflect on the events of the day or share my problems with other family members. As Douglas (2012) mentions, my family, engaged in discussion arrangements, “negotiating exemptions, canvassing for privileges, and diffusing information about the outside world, … and making shared evaluations” (p. 52). However, as I grew older, in my teenage years, my home became a place of constant arguments, yelling, and misunderstanding. I grew to hate having a home, and of my greatest desires became not to replicate it, which confirms the idea of the author.
I share the author’s opinion about the idea of home as a special place, which is created by all the members of the household. The place does not need to be large or even fixed in one location; however, there should be some regularity about it. At the same time, a home is a place with unformulated rules, which the author calls “a tangle of conventions and totally incommensurable rights and duties.” I agree that the complexity of conventions is more important for the idea of the home that localization. However, I believe that home should be viewed only from an empirical viewpoint. I believe that the feeling of belonging is central to the idea of home. Douglas (2012) fails to acknowledge the emotional part of the concept, and I believe it is wrong to discuss the sacred idea of home from a pragmatic viewpoint.
While the article does not add to my understanding of home or challenge my view of the world, it touches upon vital points that communicate to my inner self. Douglas (2012) mentions that it is common that “possibilities of subversion [make] the case of rejecting the idea of the home … even stronger” (p. 53). I was reminded that home is a fragile matter, and hostility is not something out of the ordinary.
However, it should not be the reason to avoid creating a home because it is crucial for the survival of humanity. Home cannot be replaced by any other social institute as “it cannot be defined by any of its functions” (Douglas, 2012, p. 51). Therefore, I disagree that homes still exist due to some primordial passion. Instead, homes are created rationally and intentionally despite the possible negative experiences, as homes ensure the emotional stability and security of all its inhabitants.
The idea discussed in the article is of extreme importance for modern society and me. People today are often unsure about why homes can be hostile. Many teenagers and young adults struggle to understand if they need a home and why. The article describes the idea of home in its complexity from the pragmatic viewpoint, which is essential for modern people who prefer to make rational decisions rather than emotional ones.
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The article is a very well written piece of writing that can be praised for a variety of matters. First, the author acknowledges the entire spectrum of views on the concept of home, which helps to realize what gap in knowledge is being addressed. Second, the structure of the essay is comprehensible with subheadings that help to distinguish between ideas. Finally, the essay is concise, which helps to keep the attention focused and grasp the holistic picture. However, there is a considerable flaw that obstructs the comprehension of the text. The crucial problem is the absence of a coherent conclusion, which is why the central idea of the essay is difficult to appreciate.
I enjoyed reading the article since it is a wonderful work of art. The most peculiar about the essay is the choice of words and expressions. The author uses a pseudo-scientific style, which helps to gain a nuanced understanding of the author’s ideas. At the same time, the choice of the scientific style for describing emotional matters awakens the interest of the reader and makes engage in the discussion.
For instance, Douglas (2012) describes favors and chores done at home as transactions, “which never look like exchanges because the gesture of reciprocity is delayed and disguised” (p. 53). Moreover, the author provides scientific definition to home, which is “which a multipeaked, rationally integrated system, which we find in villages, districts, kingdoms, and empires” (Douglas, 2012, p. 53). In summary, the article is a remarkable and engaging work of art due to the pseudo-scientific style.
In summary, the reviewed article provides a holistic explanation of the concept of home from different viewpoints. I would recommend reading the text to everyone who is unsure about why they should create a home. At the same time, I would read other works of the author due to her exceptional style. The article touches upon a vital issue of the present, and an attempt to tackle such a complex notion is to be appreciated.
Douglas, M. (2012). The idea of home: A kind of space. In C. Briganti & K. Mezei (Eds.), The domestic space reader (pp. 50-54). Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.